Thursday, December 11, 2008

Handling Schizophrenic Episodes Smartly

Schizophrenia affects just a percent of the American population. But given how large the population is, the number of patients is quite significant. People who suffer from it are often branded as crazy or insane because they seem to live in a world where reality and perception are distorted. Movies that depict the condition shows the disorder in a funny and crazy light – but patients and their caregivers will attest, there is nothing fun about having the disorder.

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder that causes imbalances in the brain chemicals. As a result, people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia may have difficulty in recognizing what is real from those that are make believe. Disembodied voices, nonexistent malevolent intents, and imagined plots are all part and parcel of a schizophrenic existence. As a result, people with schizophrenia often withdraw from society, feel extreme agitation, and are always afraid. It is a difficult situation to live with, but aside from the patients, there are other persons who suffer from schizophrenia like the caregivers.

If you are living with a schizophrenic, it is inevitable that you will find yourself on the receiving end of a schizophrenic episode. Aside from keep a stock of cheap Geodon and Abilify from an online pharmacy, here are some tips on handling schizophrenic episodes smartly:

1.Be aware of pre-episode symptoms and signs.

It is rare for a schizophrenic person to go suddenly ballistic. Often, the patient will exhibit some signs that there is an impending episode before the crisis actually occurs. Some signs to watch out for include sleeplessness, suspiciousness, ritualistic preoccupation with certain objects or situations, and unpredictable outbursts. If the patient has stopped taking medications, gently suggest a visit to the doctor.

2.Stay calm and do nothing to increase the patient's agitation.

Your objective is to keep the person as calm as possible and this will not be helped by screaming or shouting. Remember that during an episode, the patient is in an alternate reality where anything is possible. The light fixtures may be talking to him or there are snakes slithering on the floor. It is likely that the patient will act out his hallucination by stamping around or trying to shatter the light fixtures. Instead of panicking and attempting to stop him, talk to the patient in a calm voice and play along with his hallucination. For example, climb a desk if you have to “avoid the snakes.” If you are alone, call someone to stay with you until professional help arrives.

3.Forgo authoritative approaches.

Most often than not, patients feel that they cannot control what is going on when they are undergoing an episode. Instead of compounding this feeling by giving authoritative orders to calm down and go with the medical team, opt for a gentle approach. Talk in a calm and soothing voice and try to get the patient to go along voluntarily with the medical team. When necessary, play along with the hallucination (i.e. telling him that the medical team will get rid of the snakes and both of you need to stay somewhere safe).

As the patient's caregiver or companion, your goal is to help give him a semblance of control over the situation – a feeling he is often deprived of due to his paranoia and imagined fears. By being prepared and handling the situation calmly, you can help the patient get medical help without accident on his and your part.

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Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical health care and sharing them through her writing.

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